Princeton Posse hosted Osoyoos Coyotes Jan. 22 in what was supposed to be the second game of the weekend for the home team.
The Friday night match against Sicamous Eagles was postponed until later in the season due to treacherous highway conditions effectively removing a key ‘warm-up’ game from Princeton.
The Posse and Osoyoos have been battling for first place in the Okanagan Division in recent weeks in a rivalry that pre-dates the Coyote franchise by almost a decade when the Storm still called the desert country of the very south of the Okanagan Valley their home.
A tune-up game against Sicamous, and a possible two points, would have put Princeton back to within one point of the division lead before the Osoyoos team bus pulled out of the garage and was pointed towards the Similkameen.
Instead, Osoyoos came to Princeton with a three-point lead and the Posse welcomed them with two games in hand.
From the opening face-off the first period was an intense, high speed, action-packed 20 minutes of hockey that didn’t let up until the start of the first intermission.
With only four penalties called, there was a lot of hockey on the ice of Princeton Arena.
The first goal of the game (for Osoyoos) occurred at 8:19 but was waved off by referee Brent Hazel due to a goalie interference infraction by Andrew Stack of the Coyotes.
The visitors kept pelting Posse goalie Sky Buller with shots and one finally got past him at 5:21.
Credit for the goal went to Dexter Dancs with assistance from Alex Jewell and Kam Crawford.
The second period was knocked down just a notch from the previous one although a flurry of activity in front of, and as it turns out, inside of the Posse goal at 17:58 set Osoyoos up for a penalty shot.
The official reason for this was someone in a cream-coloured jersey had put his glove on the puck in the goal crease.
Penalty shots are not common in Princeton Arena and the Coyotes’ Steve Sasynuik got the honours.
He rushed the Princeton goal then went to the right of Posse netminder Sky Buller just shy of colliding with him and tried to flip the puck up and over on the stick side but Buller slid to the post and blocked the shot.
Osoyoos added a power play goal at 5:48 (Brandon Watson from Thierry Martine and Kam Crawford) but Princeton responded at 2:28 (Keenan Fordy from Eric Schmidt).
After two Osoyoos had a 2-1 lead which they widened to 3-1 at 16:28 of the final period (Thierry Martine from Steve Sasynuik and Kam Crawford).
The Posse power play unit shifted into high gear at 10:25 when Eric Kubis passed the puck to Kurtis Bond who popped it into traffic in front of the Osoyoos goal.
Princeton’s Jaden Janzen was in front; just to the left of Coyote goalie Cole Buckley and with lightning fast reflexes tipped the frozen piece of rubber through a narrow opening.
With almost a minute left to play, Princeton pulled their goalie for an extra man and the Posse carved up the ice in the Osoyoos zone until a loose puck was snatched away by the Coyotes’ Kam Crawford who shoveled it over to Jordan Simpson who lobbed a soft one at the yawning empty net at the Posse end of the arena.
Final score: Osoyoos 4, Princeton 2. Shots on goal: Princeton 34, Osoyoos 33. Penalties in minutes: Princeton 9 for 26-minutes (including a Game Misconduct issued to Coach Dale Hladun with 18-seconds left in the game), Osoyoos 9 for 16-minutes.